Friday, February 22, 2013

The Things People Say

I have read a number of articles and threads about the stuff that people say to pregnant women.  I would never have had an appreciation for those stories before I was expecting myself.  I thought it might be fun to make my own list.  Feel free to add to mine!

  1. Was it planned?/Were you trying?
  2. Do you have a doctor?/Are you taking vitamins?
  3. That's not a belly; that's a bread basket!
  4. How much weight have you gained?
  5. My delivery was so painful and traumatic that I never had a second child (true statement revealed to me right after I shared my good news).
  6. Are you hoping for a girl or a boy?
  7.  How far along are you?
  8. The last place I would want to be looking is in maternity (said by a random shopper while walking by me in the maternity section at the mall, my husband heard her and was pissed).
  9. Oh, you are getting so cute.
  10. I can see your belly now./You're getting so heavy.
  11. Your stomach isn't nearly as big as this other pregnant women.
  12. Do you have insomnia?  Better get used to not sleeping!
  13. Do you want to find out if it is a boy or a girl or do you want to be surprised? (isn't it always a surprise?)
  14. Do you know what you are having? (it's a human!)
  15. Breastfeeding is great and the best thing that you can do for your baby!
  16. Breastfeeding is painful/horrible/impossible; use formula and save yourself the trouble.
  17. Did you pick a name yet?
  18. Just use drugs. (this one gets said a lot in reference to the delivery which I find kind of amusing since usually the status quo is to "just say no")
  19. How are you feeling? (multiply by 1,000,000,000)
  20. And the creme de la creme:
Can I confirm your birthdate?
Reeallly??  I thought you were like nineteen!
(Said by a phlebotomist after vampiring more blood from me.  I waited until I was in my early thirties to have my first baby and people still think that I am a teen mother.  Not cool!)

Many of the gems above were eyebrow-raising, but the one thing that has really surprised me is that people have not advised me to stop riding my horse, even though horseback riding is at the top of the list of dangerous activities to be avoided by pregnant women.  I had been bracing myself since day one expecting to be judged for riding my 1000 lb pet while gestating a baby.  I am not sure if people just don't want to go there and tell me not to do my most favorite thing in the entire world or if they truly believe that I would not take the chance if I thought that I would be taking too large a risk.  I have been happy to see that pretty much everyone, from riders to non-riders, have been supportive of my decision to keep riding my horse.  My husband and I discussed it with one of my doctors and she said that because I have been riding regularly for most of my life, I can continue to ride, but I can't fall off.  She also said that "bouncing is okay" and won't hurt the baby.

As an avid rider who values a good seat and the work I have put forth to improve my balance and position in the saddle, I couldn't resist clarifying for her.

"Oh, I don't bounce."

October 2012: At the beginning of our new adventure.


  1. You're lucky, I was told by both both the horsey and the non-horsey set to give up my horses upon announcing my first pregnancy. The horsey set felt that I'd be "too busy with parenting" to ride, the non-horsey set felt that I should put aside my "selfish, childish obsession with horses" once I had a baby. They were both wrong.

    I was very up front with my OB, I rode until I didn't fit in the saddle anymore, then I lunged and long-lined. My OB told me that it was OK to do what you feel comfortable with, but not to take up new activities while pregnant.

    Among the doozies I got were:

    "Oh, now that you're having a baby you're selling those horses, right?"

    "You can't do that, you're pregnant!"

    "You're so small, are you sure your baby is OK?"

    "OMG, my delivery was sooooo traumatic and this is why..." at which point I'd tell them my kids were both c-sections, and they'd say, "Oh, you had c-sections.. What are you, lazy?"

    I also remember very well the blue ribbon I got on my horse when I was three months pregnant with my daughter. I remember the way my horses would touch my belly, as if they knew there was something there. I remember bringing both of my babies home and introducing them to my horses. They snuffled all over the babes, so gently. They're still so gentle with my kids, they're much nicer to my kids than they are to me!

    Opinions are like arse-holes, everyone has one and they all stink. Do what's best for you, and don't put much stock in what other's say!

    1. Those are some good ones!
      "Lazy" for having a c-section? I can't believe someone said that to you! How rude.

      When I first bought Harley, one person in the (not immediate) family commented that I would have to give him up when we started a family (this was like six years ago). I couldn't bite my tongue on that one. I went into this whole, "well you don't know me very well"... speech because I was so offended and excited about my new horse. I dreamed of a horse for 24 years and now someone's first response was "enjoy it while it lasts because you will have to give him up". Maybe that vibe has stayed with me and that is why no one has said anything now that I am actually expecting.

  2. There are many people who don't think before they speak. Your job for the next few months is to think up great comebacks to all the comments you get. Funny answers are always good unless of course sarcasm would do the job. Good luck and have fun.

    1. A few times I told people we were having a "human", when they asked what we were having. This usually got a laugh and then I would add, "I hope" and then they would just look at me funny. ;)

      I let most of them slide at this point, but it is fun to share here!

  3. Ah, my favorite was "My goodness! You're HUGE! Are you having twins?!" - however, the comments did not bother me as much as random people coming up and touching my belly.

    Now that my twins are here, I get comments like

    "Oh! Are they twins?!" (they're identical, in matching car seats....)
    "Are they a boy and a girl?!" (both wearing copious amounts of pink...)
    etc etc etc... but it's fun getting stopped to be told how adorable the girls are!

    1. I can't believe anyone would tell any woman (or man for that matter) that she is HUGE. That is never an okay thing to say!

      So funny about the obvious questions from people. It is really hard not to come back with a sarcastic comment when you get questions like that. When a certain person who-shall-remain-nameless asked if I had a doctor right after we revealed that we were pregnant, I couldn't resist saying, "No" even though OF COURSE I have a doctor. I have like a team of doctors! It made me feel like that person thought that I am a slacker or clueless. I may be new to parenting, but I know how important prenatal vitamins and such are. Sheesh!

  4. I had my babies at 32 and 34. I'm glad you are having an easy time of it. I played tennis into my 8th month with my first one. I was in a different marriage and horses were not allowed. Bah humbug.
    I think I score poorly at shows on my accuracy because our arena is not dressage court dimensions. It is 20m wide but the length is sort of short court. I don't ride deep because I don't want to bump the rail - which costs me at shows. Winston is like "go deep? Why? we never do that." sigh

    1. Horse not allowed? Like ever? That is terribly uncool. I am glad that you were able to stay active and it is nice to hear that you had your babies at the same age as me. I just wasn't ready yet in my twenties. Now feels like the right time for us.

      Not having a standard ring really makes a difference. I know exactly what you are talking about. I know exactly where the letters are, but when you are used to even slightly different dimensions of figures it makes a difference. There isn't time to adjust in the four minutes you spend in the show ring. I still think that you and Winston are doing amazing though. He has beautiful gaits and the personality to excel at shows so you are ahead of the game!

  5. Got behind on my blog reading (apparently WAY behind ;o) so congratulations girl!! I'm so excited for you!
    Amazing what a magnet you become for the horror stories, isn't it? How well I remember that particular boggling of my brain (I think I spent the entire first trimester wondering why on earth someone would say that to me (or any other pregnant person ;o)

    1. Thank you, Jen!

      About the horror stories, I know! Whenever someone tells me that they had an easy pregnancy or their delivery was short and relatively pain-free I thank them profusely. I try to imagine myself in those situations and forget the rest. Thankfully my Mom didn't have any trouble so I just keep telling myself that I will be like her. :)

  6. Don't ask me why, but the first thing that popped into my head when my sister told me she was expecting (30+ years ago!) was "Do you know who the father is?" Thankfully I bit my tongue and asked a much more conventional "When are you due?" or I think she still wouldn't be speaking to me!!

    1. Whoa!!!

      "When are you due?" is a much safer question. I wish some others had your tact.

  7. Congrats!!!! I love this post, pretty funny stuff. I say do what is right for you! I am not sure what I'll do when I'm pregnant. I might ride - but yeah, it's the coming off part - it rarely happens EVER, but Pong is big and it's a loooooooong way down. I'd probably stick to dressage/flatwork only and stay the arena and let my trainer have the fun of jumping and playing on the trail/outdoors when the time comes. I took a jumping lesson with a friend of mine who was 3 months pregnant and I will tell you it was the one and only time Pongo ever in three years took off with me after a jump and we nearly plowed into said pregnant woman on her horse. Talk about a scary moment - my point being, lol, while I am sure your boy is more than trustworthy clearly, watch out for the yahoos in the ring you're riding with that cant control their horses, haha! Be safe and have so much fun with your new adventure!!!

    1. Thank you!

      Yikes! That is quite a story. I definitely would not attempt jumping while pregnant. I guess in the first trimester, your center of balance has not changed too much, but I am halfway through the second and I can't imagine trying to stay with a horse over fences now. Luckily I rarely jumped my horse to begin with and my barn is full of trail riders. And I must say, we have pretty awesome horses since many of them are used for therapeutic lessons.

  8. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went two weeks overdue and people were driving me mad asking me did I have the baby yet. What did they think the bump was, pillows...fat...a bale of hay? When I was pregnant with my son I told everyone the due date was a couple of weeks later, which was just as well cos he wasn't in a hurry either!

    I kept riding (and running) until I was 7 months pregnant. Everyone thought I was mad, but I had the last laugh because the birth is way easier when you keep exercising.

    1. More obvious questions. It really is strange that people ask those and aggravating, I am sure, in the situation you described. No one wanted that baby born more than you!

      I am happy to hear that being active makes delivery easier. I stopped running before the second trimester, because it got too dark and cold in the morning before work, but I try to stay active in other ways. :)

  9. I was also annoyed/offended by unsolicited advice while I was pregnant, but I have to say, in retrospect I am VERY grateful for one of the "tips" I got. If a friend hadn't advised me to read "The Continuum Concept" my parenting might have been vastly different. I will forever be grateful to this friend. She didn't preach at me or give me advice, but she recommended a book that really made a lot of difference to me...and to my child. That said, everybody's path is different (just like everybody's labor and delivery), and I wish you much joy on your own path. And by the way, my labor was I think medium--neither terrible nor easy-- but I am very fond of the memory--it was a momentous day in my life, and it brought my son to me.

    1. It can be difficult to filter the good advice from the rest when so much is thrown at you. Even well-meaning comments, like "that part was so easy for me", can be frustrating because it still does not help me figure out how to accomplish the same ease.

      I have just finished looking up the book which your friend recommended to you and I must say that I am intrigued. Thank you for making me aware of this title.

      I am also comforted to hear that you look back on your son's "birthday" with fondness even though it was labor in every sense of the word.

  10. Hi Val ....I was thrilled to open my blog then click on yours and read your exciting news....a baby girl oh wow. The biggest congratulations from down here in New Zealand!!!! ....oh and I rode right through both my pregnancies with my two girls

    1. Thank you, Sally!!!
      It is great to hear that you were able to continue riding. :)

  11. it's been a long time since I was pregnant but after some initial illness I loved being pregnant. I did whatever I wanted to - unfortunately it did not include riding but that was financial not a choice.

    I remember everytime I went on the bus it seemed that people would look at my belly and then my hand for a ring. One thing that someone said to me that still stands out was a good friend. I was 8 months pregnant and I had just showed her the nursery (it was so cute with a dinosaur theme).
    She said 'this is nice but what will you do if the baby dies?'
    I looked at her and said 'my baby won't die'.


    1. I think that looking young is related to that response (the ring thing) in people. My husband and I do not share the same last name. Sometimes I feel the need to clarify that he is my spouse when we attend doctor's appointments together.

      I am shocked that your friend asked you that question, but, for good or bad, I do understand the concern and the fear behind it. Since I lost my sister when she was a young adult, death is a real thing to me and not something that "won't happen to me". This doesn't mean that I am not going to prepare or get excited, but I still understand the worry behind the question.

  12. People are so stupid. I NEVER say ANYTHING to anyone unless I am 100% sure they are pregnant and then I simply say, congratulations! And even that can be a bad thing to say if the mom to be is not in a good place in her life. If a mom wants to elaborate (the due date, the sex of the baby, what she eats, how much she barfs, etc.) I nod my head appropriately and then get the hell out of there! I am a little afraid that pregnancy is contagious. :0)

    Being pregnant is too darn public. Since it's so "obvious" people feel as though they have the right to comment/touch/advise. My favorite "code" of all time is MYOB! I keep trying to turn it into a political party. If we'd all just mind our own business, this would be a much kinder, happier world!

    Congratulations! :0)

    1. You make a lot of good points. Pregnancy is incredibly public and that is something that I do not like about it. My students and the staff get a front row seat for the changes in my body, which makes me very subconscious. I try to wear clothes that do not make my belly obvious, but I am quickly running out of those options! Thankfully very few people have tried to touch my stomach, because that is definitely not okay with me.

      On a positive note, I finally have something in common with a lot of other women. That may sound strange, but I have liked shopping, jewelry, or romantic movies, so my discussion pieces with my female co-workers have been fairly limited. I think that people are happy to finally have something that know we both have in common and I am grateful for that. You must know how that is as a horse woman. Unless you work with other riders, the conversation about horses is limited to "how old is your horse?" and "how long do they live?", usually in that order. ;)

    2. insert "not" in front of shopping

    3. I hear you - not a lot to talk about. I have observed that moms LOVE to talk about babies. :0)

  13. I am so happy for you and loved hearing your great news! I was reading a famous riders interview can't remember which one and she said she was riding until about a week before she gave birth. I don't think it's a bad thing what your doing because you know your horse, and you know what's going to happen. I think if I was in your position i would keep riding too!

  14. There's something about seeing a pregnant woman that really brings out the stupid in some people. But then there are those that just look at you and smile, I like those people :)

    Lucky for me, it's still cold enough that I can "mask" my pregnancy in a winter coat. Keeps random strangers from making comments or groping me.

    1. *laughing*

      Oh yeah, I love that I can still "hide" in my winter coat.

  15. First off, I'm a bit behind in blogger land, so CONGRADS on the new family member! May she inherit your love of horses. ;)

    When my SIL was pregnant with her twins, strangers kept coming up to her and just rubbing her belly, unasked. She said it was the strangest thing - didn't happen with her first boy, just the twins. At first she laughed it off but it got to the point where she'd slap people's hands and loudly say, "DO YOU MIND?!?" Hopefully you won't have to put up with that, it's unbelievably rude!

  16. SURPRISE!!!

    I am not okay with random people touching me. I do not even really want friends touching my stomach. If that starts happening, I will probably react like your SIL. It is so bizarre that complete strangers would think that was okay!

  17. OMG just so you know, I have my CLIENTS (not family or friends) ask me almost daily "WHEN ARE YOU HAVING BABIES?!" ummmm since when is it appropriate to ask about my sex life during a meeting??? I'm going to go with NEVER.
    Good for you for riding. Pregnancy is not an illness :) As long as you are comfortable, and your hubbie is coolio with it, why not!!?
    I'm not sure I would or would not, like literally I am unsure what I would do!! lol


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